【Tokyo Dinner】You won’t believe that the chef of “Negura” in Koenji has never been to India!
Spring, summer, autumn and winter, for breakfast, lunch and dinner – I want to eat curry all the time! This is the sequel to curry lover Rink Murata’s mission to visit all the best curry restaurants in the city. All restaurants in the sequel have been approved not just by Rinko-chan, but also by many other customers! All Rinko-chan has with her is her purse, a camera and an undying love for curry!
If you go to Koenji once, you will immediately want to go again. When you go out to drink in Koenji, it has recently become a common trend to hit up “Negura” while you’re out there. “Have you been there before? Let’s go!” say the many fans of these crazy curries, however, this isn’t really a place big on alcohol. We were contacted by Rinko, who said she found a new, exciting place to continue her curry quest. This place features Indian curry with a wild concept!
Just a two-minute walk from Koenji station by foot and you will reach the Etoile shopping centre. With a name like that anybody would be curious. This is where Negura is located. The chef of Negura has never been to India, but the concept of the restaurant is their wild ideas used to make curry. Just the sound of it is a fun concept but it is not so much the concept that gave the restaurant its name, but the destination. The official restaurant name “Negura” (meaning roost) originates from the pet name that the two managers referred to this location as during their old school days, as this was their meeting point. Whilst eagerly opening the door to the restaurant, Rinko’s heart was throbbing!
The interior is decorated with lots of small objects and books crammed together. One wall also features a colourful and dynamic painting. The art direction was managed by Shoshi Nigamushi, an artist who has contributed to the designs of rock festivals and many other events.
Ower Osawa-san explained that they have never been to India, which came to a big shock because one taste of the food and you would have thought differently. (It’s a real shame we don’t have Osaawa’s photo – a very kind and gentle person!)
“The restaurant atmosphere is very Indian, and despite not mentioning anything of the sort, it is easy to believe that Osawa-san has done training in India” said the cute Kondo-san while laughing.
Rinko eagerly anticipated her curry!
The menu uses ingredients of the season and likewise bases the meal around a wild concept for the daily special. Today’s menu featured onion and tomato, rape blossoms and manila clams. (￥1,000) The topping was kumquat and pepper chutney (￥200) Rinko also ordered Shibireru chai! (￥500)
The whole plate was fully satisfying! Two varieties of curry, and a colourful range of vegetables such as tomato, garden peas and carrots – what a luxurious mix! Where to start?
A meal with impact accompanied with a spicy chai – surely you cannot taste anything as extravagant as this anywhere else.
“This is delicious!” said Rinko chan, as she continued through her meal. Describing the flavour as “gentle”, her spoon quickly cleaned the plate. The spices and the ingredients worked perfectly together. On the whole, the meal was not too spicy, allowing the true flavours of the ingredients to be fully enjoyed. The aftertaste of the spices, however, packed a decent punch. Not only was the taste exceptional, but the balance was a whole new experience! The true wild concept could be tasted in the meal. Combining the taste of India with mankind’s strongest point of imagination, the wild concept for this restaurant was born.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was youthful – from its name to its interior. You could feel the wonderful, warm personality from the two staff members. There is more than just that, however.
By means of imagination and freedom, a challenging concept was born. And this flavour is what brings many people happiness.
A restaurant where memories are made, two people embarked on a challenge, creating a wild kingdom of Curry. Koenji is already known as “the India of Japan”, and this Curry kingdom emphasises this even more.
Come try a curry at Negura, which offers a unique atmosphere, moreish meals and the unique feeling that you are in India!
model：Rinko Murata @rinco1023
Dine On Fancy Authentic Japanese Food Casually at SHARI in Ginza
SHARI is a restaurant located on the second floor of Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza-gochome, a new hotel that opened on September 26 located within walking distance from Ginza Station and Higashi-Ginza Station. This restaurant serves authentic and fancy Japanese-style food as well as luxurious Kobe beef, gozen set meals, and much more.
Ginza is known as the expensive, upmarket part of Tokyo, and when talking about small local restaurants there the pricing threshold tends to be rather high, but at SHARI customers can enjoy proper Japanese cuisine in a more casual manner and at a much more affordable price, with the typical set lunches starting at just ¥1,200.
Sophisticated is the word that springs to mind upon entering this restaurant, as your eyes meet the gorgeous mix of wood on black. As well as table seats, they also have counter seats too, allowing for you to enjoy a little luxury on your own if you so wish.
There is an additional restaurant inside the main restaurant itself that goes by the name Teppanyaki Mitaki, a tiny six-seater restaurant that serves Kobe beef, a type of wagyu beef and one of the top three beefs in Japan.
SHARI Gozen – ¥3,000 (Before Tax)
I ordered the SHARI Gozen which is served during lunchtime. This set comes with six small bowls, each filled with different colourful foods. It’s a cute-looking set♡
There’s lots of meat and fish included in the set. For meat, they have steak made with domestic beef. It’s succulent and drizzled in a rich sauce that fills your mouth deliciously with a single bite. With the sashimi, the restaurant makes sure to serve fish that’s in reason. There were 3 types of fish so it was a very satisfying meal.
The set can also be served with a variety of deep-fried foods, stewed foods, and cold fishes, as well as rice, miso soup, desserts and more. No matter what you order you can rest assured you’ll be full afterwards.
SHARI is a chic and stylish restaurant with great food, plus it’s located in Ginza. And you can enjoy all of this at a super low price!
Lady’s Gozen – ¥2,600 (Before Tax)
I have to recommend the Lady’s Gozen if you’re looking to enjoy fish and vegetables. It comes with two varieties of sashimi and one fried fish, all in season, as well as an assortment of fried food, savoury egg custard, and four side dishes.
It also comes with rice and sushi rolls as well as a dessert like the SHARI Gozen.
The whole dinner menu is lined with Japanese food, including sashimi, tempura, fried food and more. There’s also various courses, including the Teppanyaki Mitaki course which is priced from ¥12,000. It comes with Kobe beef of course in addition to various other high quality ingredients.
Shu – ¥1,000 (Before Tax)
I also recommend this Japanese-style cocktail for those thinking of staying late. It’s inspired by the colours used in kabuki theatre―a Bloody Mary combining shichimi, nihonshu, and tomato juice. The rim of the glass is lined with more shichmi for a spicy and refreshing kick when you sip.
Check out the cute glass it comes in too.
From affordable lunches to dinner courses made with top quality ingredients, SHARI can be enjoyed throughout the entire day with its diverse menu line-up. Be sure to pay a visit to tuck into authentic Japanese cuisine in the luxury district of Ginza.
Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Address: Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza-gochome (Floor 2F), 5-13-15 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Morning 6:30-10:30 (Last Entries 10:00) / Lunch 11:30-15:00 (Last Orders 14:00) / Evening 17:30-23:00 (Last Orders 22:00)
Closures: Morning – None / Lunch & Evening – Mondays (If Monday falls on a Public Holiday, closed the following day)
Access: 4-minutes on foot from Ginza Station’s A5 Exit / 1-minute on foot from Higashi-Ginza’s A1 and 4 Exits
*¥500 service charge during dinnertime. 10% service charge instead for Teppanyaki Mitaki. Smart-casual dress code. Preschoolers not permitted entry.
Official Website: http://shari-the-tokyo.jp/shari/
Tokyo Stroll: Walking Through Akasaka Palace, a European-Style Splendor
Akasaka Palace―a building that has welcomed emperors, presidents and prime ministers across the world into its architectural wonders. While it is mainly used for official purposes, did you know that it also offers a public viewing, one that doesn’t hinder on business affairs?
The palace is considered a national treasure of Japan. I paid a visit to this gorgeous edifice that looks just like a European-style palace. Photography is strictly forbidden when visiting, but I was able to receive special permission to cover the inner secrets of this exclusive wonder.
Akasaka Palace is open throughout the year. There is a daytime reception that lets you enter without having to book a spot in advance (though you’ll have to book if you want to visit the Japanese Style Annex). Visitation is restricted when international state officials are present, so when planning your trip be sure to check the palace’s schedule on the official website. Visitation through the daytime reception begins at the West Gate.
Originally built in 1909 as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince, the building is the only example of neo-Baroque architecture in Japan. It was built by Japanese imperial court architect Katayama Tōkuma. When planning the design for the building, he referenced various palaces across Europe which is why people liken it to Palace of Versailles in France.
Hagoromo no Ma – A reception hall for visitation welcomings
The first room you come to on the public viewing is “Hagoromo no Ma.” It was originally called a ball room which is why it houses orchestra boxes. Aperitifs dance around the room for invitees who may be there for send-offs, dinner parties or even musical performances.
Overhead is a gorgeous chandelier which is made up of almost 7,000 separate parts, most of which is crystal. It is the biggest chandelier in the entire palace. The inner part of the mezzanine floor, which looks like a balcony, is used as an orchestra box when the room is used for orchestral concerts.
The intricate design of the chandelier includes masks inspired by a ball while the walls too are littered with relevant motifs such as instruments. The whole room is decorated in all things musical.
Asahi no Ma – The most high-class room of the palace
The next room you step into is “Asahi no Ma” which is used for courtesy calls of officials and important people as well as summit meetings. It is the most high-class room in all of Akasaka Palace and is where the state guests say their goodbyes to the Emperor and Empress. The room began reconstruction two years ago and reopened in April this year.
The room gets its name Asahi (“morning sun”) from the painting of Aurora, the Roman Goddess of dawn, that overlooks the room.
It is said that in the Meiji Period, when the palace was built, people painted pictures of helmets to symbolize the army and boats to symbolize the navy as the country declared the political measure known as Fukoku kyōhei, which meant to “Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces.”
Shoumen Genkan/Large Hall – Welcoming guests of honour
The “Shoumen Genkan,” or front entrance is where international guests of honour are welcomed. When visiting during public opening hours you don’t enter from this entrance but you are allowed inside. The large hall, which is located up the stairs from the hall that continues through the entrance room, has a striking and vivid deep crimson carpet. Together with the eight towering marble pillars, this hall makes for an overwhelming viewing. The room directly opposite down the stairs is Asahi no Ma.
Sairan no Ma – Where treaties are signed
The next most high-class room from Asahi no Ma is “Sairan no Ma” which is primarily used for signing ceremonies of treaties. When Asahi no Ma was undergoing renovations, this room was used for informal talks carried out by the emperor and prime minister with foreign rulers.
The entire room takes on the Empire style which was popular during the rule of Napoleon I. Scattered throughout the room are gold leaf designs of armour, helmets, swords and so on.
Kacho no Ma – Dinner parties with guests of honour
Kacho no Ma is used for dinner banquets with important official from countries around the world. The room has a more relaxed feeling from the others due to its interior wooden design. It’s also often used for press conferences so those who watch Japanese news may recognise it.
The room, with its mellow deep wooden design, houses 30 oval cloisonné medallions, depicting four seasons’ flowers and birds. The ceiling art, too, depicts images of birds and wildlife killed by hunting.
It also has the heaviest chandelier in the palace inside which is a globular speaker.
Yushintei – Japanese-style hospitality in the Japanese Style Annex
The Yushintei is located in the Japanese Style Annex on the west side of Akasaka Palace. It was built in 1974. Akasaka Palace carries out events and receptions in a western style but the Yushintei welcomes international guests of honour with Japanese-style hospitality. Those who wish to enter must book in advance. The booking comes with a tour.
As you step through the entrance and into the inner garden through the passage, you will see moso bamboo. This area has a garden with shirakawa gravel and kibune stone from Kyoto.
In the main Japanese-style room where guests are served Japanese food one can observe the pond from the window. You might recognise it as the place where Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump fed the fish.
The tea room comes with chairs for foreign visitors who are unable to sit in the traditional Japanese seiza position. Tea is prepared on the upper step which is inspired by Noh theatre.
Afternoon tea in the extraordinary front garden
20 afternoon tea sets are prepared each day to be enjoyed in the front garden of Akasaka Palace. These cannot be reserved in advance so be sure to arrive early if you’d like to order one. As you enjoy your afternoon tea while gazing around you are filled with a gorgeous feeling you can’t experience anywhere else.
The general public viewing offers a chance to see numerous parts of the palace. We asked Rinko Murata, who’s pictured in the photos on the viewing, for her thoughts.
“With the first step you take in a gorgeous space unfolds before you. Its grand design made me feel as if I had been summoned to the palace. It was like visiting a foreign country. When you look closely there are lots of decorations that symbolize Japan. It was a fresh experience where you can feel both the Japanese spirit and culture of another country. I feel moved that Japan has such a place as beautiful as this. You all need to visit too.”
There is no requirement to book this viewing in advance, but during busy times (20+ people) those who do book online prior to visiting will be prioritized. Foreign visitors won’t miss out on anything either as they can purchase a voice guide machine for ¥200. These guides come in Japanese, English, Chinese, French and Spanish. A visit to the Japanese Style Annex Yushintei however requires booking prior to your visit. When doing so you can choose between either a Japanese or English-speaking guide. In the case of a sudden official reception, all scheduled public viewings for that day are cancelled, so be sure to check the calendar on the official website before heading there.
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Address: 2-1-1 Motoakasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 7-minutes on foot from Yotsuya Station via JR and Tokyo Metro
Main Building & Garden: Adult ¥1,500 / University Student ¥1,000 / High & Junior High School Student ¥500 / Elementary School Student – Free
Japanese Style Annex, Main Building & Garden: Adult ¥2,000 / University Student ¥1,500 / High & Junior High School Student ¥700 / Not open for elementary school students
Japanese Style Annex & Garden: Adult ¥1,500 / University Student ¥1,000 / High & Junior High School Student / Not open for elementary school students ¥500
Garden: Adult ¥300 / University Student & Below – Free
*The above listed prices are the general prices. Prices may change during special openings.
Official Website: https://www.geihinkan.go.jp/en/akasaka/
Rinko Murata works in fashion and is active on radio and TV. Sales of her first style book were so successful that it required extra printing during its first week. She also has a rapidly growing following on her social media. As well as modelling at big fashion events, she has her own column online at “She magazine,” and receives much attention for her work in the areas of culture and lifestyle.
Tokyo Dinner: HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE’s Curry in Kōenji is Served With Japanese Stock
Rinko Murata loves all types of curry. In this edition of Tokyo Dinner, she invites the person she wants to meet up with the most to eat the curry she’s been wanting to eat the most.
This month’s notable restaurant she stopped by was HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE in Kōenji, Tokyo. Their curry portions are generous and are good for the stomach and satiety center. They serve a curry flavoured with Japanese dashi, or ‘stock.’
How do you spend your early afternoons when you have time off? Lounging around at home with quality time to yourself sounds like a good plan. Definitely appealing.
But this is a rare opportunity. How about going on a little adventure to try something you can get a kick out of because it’s midday and a weekday?
I know the perfect curry house for your hungry selves. HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE.
As the Japanese name suggests, it’s a curry that can only be eaten at lunchtime, a mysterious dish that doesn’t appear on regular days off.
I land in Kōenji, a place I love the most. Even though iKōenji is Kōenji, the closest station to the restaurant is Higashi-Kōenji Station.
My vision is filled with all kinds of sights.
It’s like being lost in a treasure chest.
This place is actually normally a café and goes by the name Schwarze Katze. It’s open mainly on Friday night, weekends and holidays. “HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE” runs in a rented room in the café and and is open when the café is. It’s kind of luxurious to have the chance to eat my favourite food (curry!) in a place like this.
My heart desires the Wadashi Soboro Curry (¥980) that I mentioned earlier. It also comes with self-service coffee for after your meal. For toppings you can choose whatever you like. Since I was there and didn’t want to get lost on what to pick, I went for all the toppings (¥300).
The water I ordered comes in a plastic bottle. The tables have antique displays. Everything on them was wonderful.
The air was clad in that rich, familiar scent of curry, a special one that I would never get to eat had I not come here.
The instant I hold the curry in my mouth the delicious flavour of the dashi sparks in my mouth like fireworks. The broth has a slight thickness to it and a strong, deep flavour that fades into a soft aftertaste on the tip of your tongue. It’s not at all spicy, and the goodness of the dashi is luxurious like being escorted by a gentleman. And I can’t forget the smell.
My taste buds throb at this new sensation.
Like its name suggests, this is a dish where the Japanese dashi stands out above the ingredient crowd. The restaurant owner has gathered much experience in the kitchen from traditional Japanese cuisine to sushi, ramen, yakiniku, izakaya style and so on. He encountered this place by chance, and with one look he said to himself, “I want to try doing curry.” The Wadashi Soboro Curry came about through his gained culinary experience combined with the aesthetics of the café.
To bring out the full flavour of the dashi so it isn’t drowned out by the curry spices, the owner uses two types of skipjack tuna, kombu, dark sleeper, and dried sea slug, as well as a type of soy sauce called Kaeshi. 15 more ingredients are blended together to create the spices, creating deep and delicate flavours.
Now it’s time for a session with the mountain of ingredients I greedily asked for. It’s enshrined with classics like meat soboro, beefsteak, agedama, bonito flakes, and dried plum in addition to pickled daikon radish, crushed natto, Japanese ginger, and okra. The spinach and onsen tamago egg sit at the foot of the mountain and create a new culinary sight.
The base of the dashi is mobilized with a force of Japanese ingredients with a smell and flavour and that comes together harmoniously in your mouth. I’m spellbound by the flavours that stand out coupled with the pleasant textures of the agedama, daikon and ginger.
Hey, I must have hit every ingredient in there. All correct.
I added a sprinkle of pepper that was on the table and create yet another refreshing aromatic veil.
The compatibility of the pepper with the dish works so well precisely because it uses a Japanese dashi. Wadashi, or Japanese broth, is a staple of Japanese cuisine. The curry and Japanese soul carved into this dish resonates with me. It’s my first time eating it, yet I’m still filled with a sort of nostalgia―a warm embrace.
I also understand why when the shop opens, the customers in the café stand up and change with the next line of customers. The owner has a wonderful sensitivity, and has worked out a way to put his own matchless warmth into each and every bowl. I caught sight of his gentle smile as he was cooking in the kitchen. It left an impression on me.
What a delicious curry to enjoy in such a wonderful place. All five of my senses have reached peak happiness. I grab my post-meal coffee and head onto the streets of Kōenji.
What a wonderful weekday afternoon.
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE
Address: 1-21-21 Umezato, Suginami, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:30-15:00 (Weekdays Only)
Official Twitter: @Heijitsuhirudake
Tokyo Stroll: Indulge at Harajuku’s Conveyor Belt Dessert Cafe ‘MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron’
MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron is a new hot spot in Harajuku that has been popping up all over Japanese social media. It’s so popular that it’s common to see lines of people waiting outside to get in, and that’s due to the fact that this is the world’s first-ever all-you-can-eat conveyor belt dessert cafe!
MMN decided to visit the cafe to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, it was raining on the day, but that didn’t stop the smiles on girls’ faces waiting outside for it to open which gleamed like a clear summer’s day.
We visited the cafe with Japanese model Rinko Murata who has a weakness for sweet things and whose anticipation for this place was growing.
Upon entering the cafe you must first buy a ticket from the ticket machine. It costs ¥1,800 (tax included) for all-you-can-eat desserts and a drink.
This is the drink shelf. You can choose your favourite from a selection of colourful beverages that come in original bottles.
Rinko-chan picked out a photogenic-looking drink too!
If you stand against the pastel pink walls you can snap a cute photo from any angle!
Rinko-chan was quick in wanting to snap one. There are messages written over the walls too. It makes you want to take your dessert in hand and take lots of pictures.
The dessert lane stretches a sweet 38 meters. There are over 25 delights to choose from which appetisingly pass by one by one. They arrive crowning pastel coloured plates looking like precious gems and jewels. There’s even light savoury food in addition to the sweet stuff.
You’re allowed 40 minutes. Heaven begins as you sit down: pick, take a photo, tuck in and repeat.
Is this one an ice cream? It actually isn’t – underneath the cone hides potato salad! This is one of the non-dessert light foods and is perfect for cleansing your palate. There’s a meat ball burger, nikuman meat bun, popcorn and others too. (And keep in mind that items change depending on the season!)
All the sweets are bite-sized meaning you can enjoy lots of different kinds one after the other.
“Eating something this cute feels such a waste!” commented Rinko-chan.
Piling up the plates after you’ve finished is kinda fun too!
The shortcake dessert with the black cat wafer is the most popular. Only 10 of them come by in an hour. Rinko-chan was lucky enough to get her hands on one.
The cat has an iconic presence in the cafe. In fact, the “Ron Ron” in the cafe’s name comes from French and refers to the purring sound a cat makes when it’s happy.
There’s a super cute girly powder room up on the second floor.
They have hair straighteners, makeup and other bits and bobs that customers are free to use. Use of the powder room isn’t included within the time restriction of the all-you-can-eat service, so once you’ve filled your belly with treats you can hit it up, touch up your makeup and head out shopping.
If you’re in Harajuku why not enjoy lots of desserts and a girly time over at MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron?
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Social Media Campaign
Running: November 29, 2018 – December 4, 2018
We are giving away chekki photographs of Rinko Murata randomly to 2 lucky people who follow us on either our Instagram, Twitter or Weibo pages and share this article (or hit ‘Like’ on Instagram). Anyone from around the world can participate in this campaign, so get involved!
Writer: Ai Watanabe
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron
Address: 6-7-15 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Business Hours: 11:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)
Price: ¥1,800 (Tax Included) w/drink [40 Minutes Allowed]
【Tokyo Stroll】Experiencing the Finest Quality Gateau au Chocolat at “Ken’s Cafe Tokyo”—Reservations Required
Shinjuku—Situated in the heart of Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan area in the world, and absolutely packed with travelers and tourists. It’s a pivotal ward in Tokyo connected via many transportation services including the JR Line, subway, private railways, rapid bus lines and more. Shinjuku is an absolute must-visit when sightseeing in Tokyo.
In today’s entry to “Tokyo Stroll,” Rinko Murata stopped by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo in Shinjuku, a shop specializing in Gateau au Chocolat that’s made with the best quality ingredients.
Ken’s Cafe Tokyo is very easy to get to, located just 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.
The Special Gateau au Chocolat is one of the desserts served by the shop’s owner, Kenji Ujiie. Full sales of this dessert began due to strong demand from customers for it being so delicious. The word got out and immediately led to high praise that spread far and wide, and this year, the shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary!
The Special Gateau au Chocolat comes in at ￥3,000 (tax included), with reservations in abundance up to a month. When it’s freshly cooked, the outside is crispy, and the outside is creamy like fondue chocolate, making a perfect melt-in-the-mouth combined texture!
The secret to its deliciousness is in the thoroughness to use only the best ingredients. The chocolate used in the photo is from an Italian brand called “Domori.” The founder of Domori, Gianluca Franzoni, was deeply impressed with the quality taste of the Special Gateau au Chocolat, and so personally created his first and only chocolate mix called “KEN’S” to be used at the shop.
To draw out the good flavour of the chocolate, it’s made with gluten-free chocolate. Although the flavour is rich and full-bodied, the result of the taste is that makes it simple to eat.
300 gateau chocolates are made in a single day! And because each and every one of them are handmade with the utmost care and detail, it’s difficult to make any more than this, so there’s always an abundance of reservations. But if you can’t wait and need to try one straight away, limited quantities are being specially sold at Matsuya Ginza and Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro, so be sure to check those places out.
Rinko couldn’t control her excitement at the sweet smell of the chocolate. She took no time at all to begin tasting the Special Gateau au Chocolat.
When eaten at room temperature, it tastes like terrine chocolate. Depending on what temperature you eat it at, the taste and texture will change, so with one gateau chocolate you can enjoy trying three completely different flavours. Also, the balance between the sweetness and bitterness is fine-tuned every time. If you buy one now, the bitterness of the cocoa has increased every so slightly compared to 10 years ago.
Rinko gave it her seal of approval. “The moment I took a bite, the aroma of the cocoa hit me, and the soft texture just melted inside my mouth! The balance between the bitterness and sweetness is exquisite. This delicious chocolate hit me in the head right away. Happiness is running around inside my brain. I can’t get enough of how it feels!”
You can go back via Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station, but you should take a stroll towards Shinjuku Station instead – it’s just a 17-minute walk. Plus, Shinjuku Gyoen – Shinjuku’s imperial garden – is close by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo, so you might enjoy getting lost in your own thoughts while taking a walk through nature.
The Special Gateau au Chocolat is a perfect present for yourself or someone special. They are always waiting on orders, so if you’re interest, check out the shop’s website below and make a reservation.
Rinko Murata, Saki Shibata, Ayumi Seto & Culumi Nakada collaborate on Zoff’s clear lens sunglasses
12.January.2018 | FASHION
Rinko Murata, Saki Shibata, Ayumi Seto and Culumi Nakada are teaming up with glasses brand Zoff to release their own designs for the company’s “Zoff UV clear sunglasses.” Pre-orders for the glasses will open via Zoff’s online store on January 12th.
The “Zoff UV” line of glasses come equipped with clear lenses that provide 100% UV protection while still making you good, absorbing the UV light from your eyes, which is said to be one of the causes of spots and freckles.
Rinko Murata Design
“I wanted glasses with a thin metal frame, so that’s the shape I went for with this collaboration. This design will adapt to your everyday look, and gives an even more stylish impression.”
The burgundy colour is great against the skin, sophisticated, and has a vintage-like quality to it, so when you put on the glasses it brings out all the small nuances of your face. It’s a colour that’ll with any outfit you wear. The “tortoiseshell” design gives a nuance of refined dress and a classic look. This design will work best with your favourite one piece or simple outfit.
Saki Shibata Design
“To bring out a vintage quality and elegance, I put in patterns and took time focusing on the colour tones and materiality for each of them. Especially the materiality. The matte khaki and beige have a glossy finish to them, that’s my favourite part.”
Getting the khaki design right was trial and error from beginning to end. If the green in the khaki was too strong, it was difficult to co-ordinate the design with outfits and wouldn’t look good with the face, so a grey-black khaki was decided on. It can be worn smoothly with a casual look. The choice of beige has excellent compatibility with the skin, and while emitting a soft atmosphere, it also brings everything together neatly. This design works well with co-ords of a similar colour, as well as choices like a red and white striped with denim, shirts and so on.
Ayumi Seto Design
“I went with a soft cat eye design, something which anyone can wear easily. The materiality changes with each colour and so changes how you come across. The light blue frame has a glossy finish completed with shiny gold, giving it a bright and brilliant look all the way. The khaki doesn’t have a glossy finish and is silver to give a cooler look.”
The blue design emits a bright and gorgeous image. It tends to be thought of as difficult, but this design works with various hair colours. The temples which fit over the ear are furnished with a striking navy tortoiseshell design. This design goes perfectly with girly clothing such as checkered gingham shirts, frills, bow-ties! The khaki design is even more remarkable than black, and gives a much sharper and cooler impression than brown. The temples on this pair come with a brown tortoiseshell pattern. There’s glitter inside too. In terms of co-ordinating, there are lots of options: you can go khaki-on-khaki with MA-1 and military style clothing, off-white knitwear, and other warm attire. This design also works with denim and casualwear.
Culumi Nakada Design
“I used vintage glasses as reference to come up with my designs. To bring out that retro vibe, I went ahead and decorated the edges by showing the screws in the frame. I was very particular about the shape of the frame. It’s a cat eye design but more subtle, so even beginners to the cat eye look can wear them easily. I was conscious in creating a design that lots of people would get their hands on.”
The standard black design is easy to wear and for those people who want to try out the cat eye look but don’t want something that stands out so much. If you’ve ever thought you wanted to add a little something to your co-ord or you’ve grown tired of your wardrobe, then up your game with this pair of glasses. The clear design is for those people who want to just dip their toes into something fashionable and people looking for glasses that are different from everyone else’s. It looks great on the face and can be worn with casual and office styles.
Each and every pair of these clear lens sunglasses have been crafted with the utmost care and an unrivaled attention to detail. Choose your favourite and look great!
Rinko Murata gives us a tour of “The Doraemon Exhibition Tokyo 2017” in Roppongi
“The Doraemon Exhibition Tokyo 2017” opened at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi earlier this month and has received much praise.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the internationally adored Doraemon and 28 contemporary artists. Each of them was asked to create their own Doraemon with many works coming out from acclaimed artists such as Takashi Murakami and Mika Ninagawa. Today, we are joined by Rinko Murata who will serve as our guide around the exhibition to see the world’s most beloved blue robot cat.
You will find the exhibition at the Mori Arts Center Gallery located nearby Roppongi Station via the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and the Toei Ōedo Line. It’s situated inside Roppongi Hills, so you can enjoy a bit of shopping after stopping by the exhibition.
Upon entering the gallery, the first thing you’ll see a huge piece of art by Takashi Murakami. There are countless scenes taken from Doraemon and turned into artwork with the finest details, so be sure to really give each piece a good look.
A stand-out feature of this entire exhibition is the number of huge artworks on display, all of which bring to life the world of Doraemon that Fujiko F. Fujio created.
Sebastian Masuda was present at the gallery. His own piece, “Saigo no Weapon,” was also on show. Inspired by the movie “Doraemon: Nobita’s Dorabian Nights,” his giant Doraemon is made of things like fur and toys! It was breathtaking and completely captures the essence of Harajuku’s kawaii culture.
The exhibition is also home to life-sized figures besides illustrations and photographs! Pictured above is “Kuse Doraemon” by Motohiko Odani, a stylish and original take on Doraemon that breaks away from the aesthetic of manga.
This next piece is “Dorasu” (2002) by Yasumasa Morimura and The Lawyers. It takes the round shape of Doraemon to become a dress. Both the front and back are worthy of note so be sure to check it out! Rinko-chan indomitably decided on the same pose as the statue while dumbfounded by its impact.
The works on show by artists like Tomoko Konoike, ShiShi Yamazaki and Kotobuki Shiriagari are so fascinating you’ll be back to look at them over and over again. Rinko-chan’s favourite was “Doraemon no Uta on Mt. Moriyoshi” by Tomoko Konoike which has an impressive snowy white landscape. Listen to Konoike singing by herself on the snowy mountain, you’ll be completely sucked in.
What we mustn’t forget when it comes to Doraemon is the charm of the character. “Seisou” by Kumi Machida elicits joyous, New Year’s-like feelings. The picture has a Japanese taste to it thanks to the ink and gold leaf on on Japanese canvas paper.
Rinko-chan’s number one favourite was Yoshitomo Nara’s take on Dorami from the series. “The title of this work says it all: ‘Dorami @ Midnight Still Without Her Ribbon That Was Taken by Gian.’ The gravity of this picture completely absorbs you in, you have to see it up close for yourself! I’ve never really looked at Dorami so closely before, but this is quite high spec.”
Another Rinko-chan recommendation is “Watashi no Ie no Doraemon no Shashin” (Photos of Doraemon in My Home), which charmingly depicts heart-warming everyday photos. Doraemon is the focus in these portraits which are comprised of memories of Kayo Ume’s family. Her grandpa is too cute!
Mika Ninagawa’s display shows her and Doraemon on a date for a day. It features photos from 2017 as well as photos taken last year too, so it’s fun to compare.
The museum shop sells lots of limited edition merchandise you can only buy for this exhibition. The backpack (￥13,000 tax excl.) features a collage of scenes from the original Doraemon manga. The shop is filled with magnificent items that can be used not just as fan merchandise but as fashion accessories too.
There’s even a merch line-up by artists who are participating in the exhibition! The stylish items pictured above are from Sebastian Masuda.
The venue also has a cafe called “THE SUN” which is serving a collaborative Doraemon menu! After browsing the exhibition, you can complete your day of Doraemon by tasting an original line-up of foods available only here.
Before we end today’s trip, here are some parting thoughts from Rinko-chan on her time at the exhibition.
“All of the art pieces on show pave the way for originality. I was able to get a glimpse into a new kind of Doraemon world I have never seen before. Although they all maintain their own individuality, the line between the original manga and exhibition pieces were not blurred so I was able to get an even deeper feel into the original work. I came to realise what an amazing manga it really is! Doraemon has been reborn and changed by lots of artists leaving lots of new discoveries to be found, so I hope everyone will visit!”
“The Doraemon Exhibition Tokyo 2017” is running until January 8, 2018, so why not start making your New Year’s plans now?
Model：Rinko Murata @rinco1023
【Tokyo Stroll 】Stroll in Kagurazaka, the fusion of Japanese culture and exoticism.
Kagurazaka is a busy district in Shinjuku ward that has been gaining more and more visitors recently. The focus of Kagurazaka is the long and continuous sloping street that runs from Iidabashi Station to Kagurazaka Station. It has a long history that begins in the Edo period and boasts a fusion of the Japanese spirit and an exotic mood. Today, we take a stroll to Kagurazaka with Rinko Murata who absolutely loves the atmosphere of the lively district.
Akagi Shrine is Tokyo’s foremost power spot. It is located just outside the first exit of Kagurazaka Station, so it might be a good idea to begin the stroll with a shrine visit.
The Must-Visit Location in Kagurazaka for Walking & Eating
When coming to Kagurazaka, the nikuman at Gojūban are a must, no ifs, ands, or buts. Look out for the red and green entrance! This place has been running since 1957, when it was established during the Showa period.
They have all kinds of delicious nikuman in their showcase to choose from, including their “Ganso Nikuman” or original nikuman, a longtime flavour that has continued to be sold there for 60 years.
You’ll have a hard time deciding what to go for. They sell a special shark fin nikuman. Only 30 are sold every day. They also have delectably addictive piri nikuman which are made using Chinese spices, as well as limited edition curry nikuman, spicy mapo flavoured nikuman, shiitake mushroom nikuman, mozzarella nikuman, and more.
Tear open the smooth and fluffy nikuman and out pours the meat juice! The best way to eat this original nikuman is definitely eating it while walking as soon as you buy it. There’s no other luxury like it – purchasing Kagurazaka’s most famous food and ambling the street.
Sitting diagonally opposite to Gojūban is Bishamonten Zenkoku Temple, the symbol of Kagurazaka, with a large red archway out front. It’s a great location to take a photo.
It’s not summertime, it’s curry time! Join the curry party with these recommendations of curries from all over Japan!
“Whether it’s spring, summer autumn or winter, I want to eat curry!” Welcome to the next step in this series dedicated to curry lovers! With just my purse, camera and undying love for curry, join me, Rinko Murata, lover of the best curry flavours, on my mission to visit the best curry restaurants in the city that are approved by others as well as by me.
Last time, we visited Asakusa’s retort-pouch curry specialist shop “Curry Land”, where we indulged in the world of dazzling curry pouches. Taking all that on board, today we’re having a curry party!
Today, I’m wearing a shrimp-themed outfit for a special reason. Yep- you’ve guessed it! Today’s lineup of curries includes shrimp curry. It’s so typical of me to dress according to the food theme every time I’m on a curry adventure. After all that care I put into coordinating this curry dress code, I’m finally dressed perfectly for the lineup. Eat it with friends and it will taste even better – let the curry party begin!
Summer has arrived, bring us the curry season too! I want to go out to eat curry but there’s a heat wave, the ultraviolet waves are merciless and anyhow I’m feeling lethargic from this heat – the most annoying circumstances ever…
Nevertheless, the taste of curry is on the tip of my tongue! I did consider making some at home but slaving over a hot pot that simmers in the midst of this heat is just impossible to imagine.
To anyone else out there experiencing the same problem as me, there’s good news! This is where instant curry (aka our lord and saviour), swoops in to save us. This is an easy way to make delicious curry. Having purchased some instant curry from “Curry Land”, which is featured in the last edition of this series, it’s time to have an elite curry party!
Just how long has it been since I last held a party at home… (We don’t really do house parties in Japan) Decorating my room to satisfy my desires, gathering everyone’s favourite plates – preparing the party atmosphere is a thrill in itself! The fun and excitement begins from the preparation stage!
Today I’ve got a lineup of up six varieties of fulfilling curry, each sparkling with its own unique flavour. Having arranged them up in a row, the excitement starts to build! I’m so happy just by the sight of it ♡
Okuizumo Wagyu Curry kicks off the party (Japanese-style beef curry made using beef from Shimane prefecture)
This was the one curry that charmed the owner of Curry Land. Just one mouthful embraces the deep flavour of a wide range of ingredients and the skilfully seasoned spices…
The deep-flavoured, tender marbled beef is a feature of Japanese-style beef sourced from Okuizumo. I was shocked that instant curry could be of such a high quality, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Curry Land! This is not an exaggeration – this curry is definitely the best beef curry I have ever had.
The Curry Theme Park “Curry Land” in Asakusa—Stocked With Pouch-Curries from All Around Japan
“I wanna eat curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner all year round!” If you’re a curry lover, and a curry lover to that extent, then do I have the perfect article for you. With just my purse, camera and undying love for curry in hand, I, Rinko Murata, am on a mission to find the best curry houses in the city that are approved by both myself and others.
This time, I visited “Curry Land” in Asakusa, a place that specialises in local curry-in-a-pouch! I was guided to the dazzling world of curry by its fascinating owner, where every possible retort-pouch curry, from all times and all places, were collected together!
Asakusa’s Kaminarimon—a majestically built gate. I glanced a certain shop out the corner of my eye when I was looking at a group of cute girls in kimono taking a photo in front of the gorgeous gate. I thought when coming here I had entered a quiet residential area, but I suddenly felt something strange in the air around me.
Oooooh! What could this be!
There it was, the striking signboard of Curry Land. Below it, at the entrance, was the shop window—that was completely covered in pouch-curries!
And at the storefront was something I had never seen before… they even had a curry vending machine!
That’s right! This time, coming to Asakusa, I have found a place truly spectacular!
For me and other people who cannot contain their love for curry, even the entrance is welcoming at this dream theme park called “Curry Land,” with curry from all around Japan there to greet us.
※ The ranking of recommended curry changes every month
The shelves are packed and lined with pouch-curries and divided by the region that they come from. From Hokkaido all the way to Okinawa, they boast an immense selection of curries from all prefectures around Japan!
【Tokyo Cafe】Yonchome, Kouenji – reasonable prices, comfortable atmosphere and great lunch.
The orange Chuo line of the station can be seen from the large window on the wall. Sometimes it’s the yellow Sobu line. Without having even left the ticket barriers, you can catch a glimpse of it from the platform. When night descends over the district, the window frames light up with illumination. Welcome to Yonchome cafe in Kouenji. I can’t believe it’s been 7 years that I’ve wandered up and down these streets! Today we are going to introduce the one place I can’t stop loving. It is located in the charming Kouenji and is the home of this wonderful window view.
Leave the south exit, walk along the rotary and you will eventually arrive at Yonchome cafe, which is on the 2nd floor of the building. What a fitting name for a cafe located in Yonchome, Kouenji!
Open the thick wooden door and you will discover a cafe with an interior bigger than you imagined. With 100 seats, the atmosphere of the cafe is moderate and spacious, with a good distance between the tables and an overall calm feel. Sit here and you will easily lose track of time. Amongst the mood lights and glistening stain glass windows, of course the seat of your choice would be next to the window, where the evening light entwines with the ambient glow that radiates from the Chuo line.
However, when the weather is fine or when a mild midday breeze rolls in, it’s hard to resist a seat on the terrace! A book in one hand and coffee in the other, or raising a toast with beers, watching the busy people walking the steers below. What’s your style?
The heartily portioned lunch sets are reasonably priced and delicious, making this restaurant really stand out. The regular menu includes generous portions that are ideal for sharing. Happy hour runs on the weekdays from 17:00 〜 21:00, during which time draft beers and the house wine sells for just ￥230! The main charm of Yonchome is its value for time and money.
The deluxe taco-rice with soft boiled egg （デラックスタコライス 半熟卵添え） costs ￥1,000. As the name implies, it is an extravagant and luxurious dish. No matter how hungry you are or how many people are in your group, this meal is the perfect size to share or devour solely to yourself. The dish is packed with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat and cheese. The spicy sauce packs the perfect punch to balance out the mild egg. Order a beer for the perfect finish to your feast.
Speaking of beer, the anchovy potatoes (￥500) make for the perfect accompaniment. Although the potatoes are quite large, the crispy skin, tempting aroma, and creamy and salty anchovy butter enhance its wow-factor. This is the ultimate combination of flavours! Although this is quite a quirky dish to single out, I must say out of all the potato dishes I have ever had in my life, this was the best!
Whether you drink alcohol or steer clear of it, there is something for everyone at Yonchome Café. The coffee, alcohol and soft drinks range is particularly large. They also sell special summer homemade lemonade for ￥630, which is the perfect way to refresh yourself and quench your dry days against the heat of summer.
Light pours passionately into the café, yet the atmosphere is calm. No matter when the food arrives, it is always delicious. No matter what time you arrive, you will be greeted by comfort. Whether it be afternoon or evening, whether you come alone or in a crowd, you will always feel welcome.
Like the view outside your window, our feelings change every day. However, you can always count on this café to always be here, unchanged. You can return to your favourite spot, your favourite seat and enjoy your favourite meal.
As the day winds down and the night time illumination lights up, the Chuo line is still running. Seated next to the window that exposes the Chuo line in operation, I thought to myself that maybe, this is my favourite spot.
Original text by：Miiki Sugita
Translated by: Samantha Fernandes
【Tokyo Stroll】Visiting “Coci la elle” in Daikanyama to get our hands on a colourful umbrella!
Daikanyama is a popular little place located in a quiet residential area filled with stylish cafés and shops. It’s surrounded by big tourist areas including Shibuya, Ebisu, Nakameguro and Ikejiri-Ōhashi, so is very easily accessible. Today we head to Daikanyama with Rinko Murata-chan, a place where you can have all kinds of fun shopping, eating or simply strolling around, to visit “Coci la elle Swan,” a shop specializing in umbrellas.
“Coci la elle” – Umbrella Specialists
Coci la elle started originally stocked only one type of umbrella when it opened, a type made for protecting you from the sun. They now own a second shop in Daikanyama which opened in April this year in addition to the main shop and studio in Kiyosumi-shirakawa.
Today, we are visiting the newly-opened shop in Daikanyama, “Coci la elle2,” which goes by the name of the “swan” shop. It received this name as the number “2” looks like a swan. The closest station is Daikanyama Station via the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line. The station is only 1 stop from Shibuya and so is conveniently accessible, with Coci la elle only an 8-minute walk away from the front entrance.
Seize yourself a handmade umbrella
Coci la elle offers vibrant umbrellas in all types of colours and designs to brighten your day when those rainy days get you down. They also have umbrellas that will protect you from the blistering sun on those scorching days while also making you feel elegant at the same time.
The sun protection umbrellas are all made by hand, one by one, with their own individual designs and embroidery. The rain umbrellas are printed designs, but these are also all made by the head of the brand Chika Higashi, who makes collages out of photos and her own illustrations.